Headlines July 29, 2021
Boulder County Places Gross Reservoir Expansion Proposal on Hold
Boulder County announced yesterday that Denver Water’s land use application for the Gross Reservoir expansion project is now on hold. That means public hearings scheduled for August and September have been cancelled. It’s the latest action in an ongoing legal dispute over the reservoir.
Per the county’s press release, Denver Water in September of 2020 submitted to Boulder County the project’s land use application as required under the 1974 House Bill 1041 legislation called the Areas and Activities of State Interest Act.
According to the county, the act allows local governments to regulate a variety of development activities with guidance from the state and development will only proceed if there are consistencies with a local community’s 1041 regulations.
Denver water is accusing Boulder County of using the 1041 permitting process as a delay tactic.
The water provider further argues that there is publicly stated opposition by two of the three county commissioners.
Congressman Neguse Passes Fire Funding Amendment
On Tuesday, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, passed an amendment that increases funding for Wildland Fire Management Accounts at the Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support fire preparedness and suppression, fire science and research, emergency rehabilitation and rural fire assistance.
The Appropriations bill asked for $385,000 for wildfire risk reduction efforts in Jefferson County. A final vote on the bill is expected later this week.
Congressman Neguse feels that after the record-setting 2020 wildfire season it is crucial to provide federal funding to support wildland fire suppression and help families recover in communities across the West.
And today, wildfire smoke is expected to enhance ozone concentrations across northern Teller and northwestern El Paso counties. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued an air quality health advisory expected to reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category for cities that includes Woodland Park, Florissant, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Monument.
State COVID-19 Rent Assistance Program Sees Delays, Fraud as Eviction Moratorium Comes to a Close
The CDC’s national eviction moratorium is set to end Saturday, July 31st. Housing rights advocates warn this will trigger a new wave of homelessness, especially in urban areas. The Colorado Sun reports the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, has been delayed due to fraud prevention efforts.
A spokesperson for the Department of Local Affairs did not elaborate on the extent of the fraud or when payments for approved accounts will be issued.
According to the Colorado Sun, the state’s program has been overwhelmed during the pandemic contributing to extreme delays for renters seeking assistance.
Two More Hospital Systems Require COVID Vaccination
The University of Colorado Health System and Denver Health announced Wednesday they will require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by fall.
This comes on the heels of Banner Health, which operates four hospitals in Colorado, announced its requirement last week.
According to the Colorado Sun, Colorado’s other hospital systems – Centura Health, HealthONE, and SCL – have not issued a mandate but their situations may change when the FDA gives full approval of the coronavirus vaccines which is expected in the coming weeks.
Leaders Tour New Home of Boulder Strong Resource Center
Governor Jared Polis, Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver, and other community leaders toured the new permanent location of the Boulder Strong Resource Center located at 2935 Baseline Road in Boulder Wednesday.
The center, open Monday through Saturday, provides many free services including counseling, therapy dogs, acupuncture, and massage to anyone affected by the March 22nd King Soopers mass shooting.
According to the center’s personnel, the resource center also provides a safe haven for those impacted to create art and to be with others who experienced the tragedy.
Xcel Power Outage Hits West Denver
A power outage in west Denver impacted about 6,000 people on Wednesday evening. According to the Denver Post, the outage began around 6 pm near the intersection of West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard. An Xcel company spokesperson says a piece of damaged equipment caused the outage.